Bookshop's success becomes a real-life saga

Brian Pattinson at the Book House in Summertown

Brian Pattinson at the Book House in Summertown

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering East Oxford and Cowley. Call me on (01865) 425430

HE’S been around longer than some of his books stacked up on the shelves.

And now Brian Pattinson is celebrating running one of the oldest independent bookshops in the county, which has been open for 35 years.

The Book House, in South Parade, is marking the milestone after opening in 1979.

The store also has a sister shop in Thame, which has been established for more than 41 years.

Mr Pattinson, from Great Milton, has owned the two book stores for the past 31 years.

He said: “Books are my life. I have been selling books virtually all my life.

“I never tire of buying new books and selling books and recommending books to customers.”

His bookselling career began in 1973 when he joined the Thame store as manager. Then called The Red House, the shop is thought to be one of the oldest children’s bookshops in the country.

Mr Pattinson said: “I’m very proud that people recognise that there’s something we have to offer the community.

“I’m very proud that we have been supported in the way that we have for all these years.”

The Thame bookshop used to be in the High Street house lived in by renowned Irish poet WB Yeats in 1921, but later moved to its current home further along the street.

Mr Pattinson said customers he used to read to as a child often visit the stores.

He said: “It’s very gratifying to know that what they found when they came to us as a young child, they want their children to have.

“It’s nice to know that people appreciate all that we have done to encourage children to read.”

Mr Pattinson said despite the growth of online booksellers, a loyal base of customers have ensured the stores are still running.

He said: “It’s becoming very difficult because of online shopping and it’s not easy for an independent bookseller to thrive these days, but we get on with it.

“I’m very proud of the fact that through enormous difficulty over the last 10 years or so, we are still here and still thriving.”

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